|28 DAYS (2000)|
|"I am having a bad day! The worst damn day of my whole damn life! If it is not too much to ask will you all just back the f**k off!"|
|Time: 103 mins.|
There are two reasons why I actually sat through this movie: 1) there was nothing more intriguing on television; and 2) I happen to be one of those people who really likes Sandra Bullock. (I have to admit I really like Julia as well.) I can't explain why, but I just enjoy watching her. Most of the films she's made in the past 5-10 years have been decent and she usually picks roles that accentuate her comedic talent. She will probably be a very good character actress in her old age, using that time to explore other aspects of her talent. As it stands, most people, including myself, don't want to see Sandra in a dark role. Unfortunately, that's exactly what this film needs. Instead, it's kind of CLEAN AND SOBER-lite. The choice of Sandra as a drug and alcohol abuser is an interesting one because it shows that addiction affects even the most unlikeliest of people. However, I just didn't buy it. Maybe if the script or character development had been stronger... As it stands this is an average film that really doesn't reveal or explore this problem in any new or unique ways.
The film opens with Gwen (Bullock) and her boyfriend Jasper (West) partying hard with a group of friends. We've all had nights like this, which kind of takes the wind out of the film's sails right from the get go. Just because you have one out of control evening where you drink too much, stumble home and set a small fire to your bed, doesn't necessarily mean you have a problem with alcohol. This is the only scene they show when dealing with her "wild" past and it gets old pretty quickly. Perhaps if they had shown how this affected other areas of Gwen's life, we'd have reason to believe her drinking is a bigger problem than she realizes. In any case, they wake up late for her sister Lily's (Perkins) wedding, showing up 45 minutes late and still drunk. They proceed to ruin the reception by making a scene and destroying the cake. In an effort to fix her mistake, Gwen "borrows" a limo and unintentionally drives it into the front of a local home. Her sentence is 28 days in a local rehab or jail time.
Sober and highly irritated, Gwen does not make a very good impression on her fellow group members. She's only in the program because she has no other choice. She tries to convince them that she doesn't really have a problem with alcohol, but when she returns drunk after a family day visit with Jasper, her counselor Cornell (Buscemi) calmly tells her that he's sending her to jail. They have no time for people who are unwilling to look at their lives and try to affect a positive change. Gwen does not take this news well and ends up falling from a two story window to try to recover a vial of pills she threw out earlier in haste. Realizing her need to disappear from her life could have brought more than a sprained leg, she begs Cornell to let her stay. She's ready to change her ways and to attempt to discover the reasons behind her addiction. The road to recovery is never easy and Gwen has many large potholes to avoid her sister's anger, Jasper's inability to face her addiction, and the possibility of a new relationship with fellow member Eddie (Mortensen). In the end, what she discovers is that she's stronger than she ever imagined, more loved than she hoped and that life can be lived without wine-tainted glasses.
The only reason 28 DAYS is even remotely watchable is the charm and charisma of Bullock. This material has been done better hundreds of times, but for some reason she keeps your attention. The supporting cast is filled with decent actors who are given nothing more to do then be exactly what they physically are the angry black woman, the goofy white guy, the wistful teenager, the sexy baseball player/potential romantic partner, the gay German guy. There are too many of them to be effective since they aren't given enough screen time to make a difference. Buscemi actually does a good job as the level-headed counselor, but he's the only one to stand out from the crowd, except for the gay guy who was beyond annoying and stereotypical. The one good thing about the film was the ending, which had its sappy moments, but for the most part stayed realistic and didn't go for the ultimate happy romantic crap. Though it would've been nice, it's clear this people have way too many problems to deal with without trying to start a new relationship. It also makes Bullock's character stronger by showing her attempting to deal with life on her own.
I'm not sure whether to recommend this film or not. If you like Sandra Bullock, then you will definitely enjoy what she's trying to do here. If not, I can't really see why anyone would be interested. It's not a true comedy or drama, walking the road in between, which might be another one of its problems. Everything is done well enough in this movie, it just isn't anything special.